Posts Tagged ‘Indonesia’

Update on Indonesia relief effort

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Before my hiatus last week, I posted about the incipient relief efforts to people affected by the earthquake and tsumani in the Mentawai region of Indonesia late last month, as part of my ongoing series about the six emerging economies captured by the label “CIVETS.” Since then, the following US organizations have set up relief efforts. You can donate in US dollars online to the Save the Children one, and also donate more generally to Mercy Corps, which does this kind of work across the world.

There may be others I’m missing.

Part of the challenge getting relief aid to these communities is that they’re very remote. Indonesia is an archipelago nation, and when the weather doesn’t cooperate, it can apparently be very difficult to move from one island to the other, such as with relief supplies.

And don’t forget the principles of smart disaster giving that finally began filtering into the public consciousness around Haiti:

  • Give cash, not goods.
  • Support organizations that have existing relationships on the ground, it makes the process more efficient and means that more relief gets their sooner. (Note that Save the Children highlights how they’ve had a presence in Indonesia since 1976.)
  • Give to the long-term recovery effort, not just immediate relief.
  • Be OK with the fact that because of what it costs to have an effective on-the-ground response, your dollar now may get into the field weeks or even months later, or on another disaster. Relief orgs need revolving sources of funding, and it’s not like you’re going to say, “no, don’t help those other people in the next disaster.” It’s like providing general operating support, give the organization that’s proven its ability to get help to those who need it the latitude to use the funds in the most effective way. (A donation to Mercy Corps in this case would be akin to that. Also, Save the Children’s giving opportunity is the their “Indonesia Children in Emergency Fund,” which likely has more flexible applications. Be aware of and OK with that.)
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Help a CIVET

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

It’s been a couple of months since I posted in my series about the CIVETS, the emerging economies that are meant to be the next BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, China). I was on the “I,” for Indonesia. Sadly, there’s been an oceanic earthquake there and an attendant tsunami that have killed at least 112 and left many more missing.

In the scale of recent disasters like Pakistan and Haiti, it’s small, but Indonesia’s certainly had its share of natural disasters in recent years, as the new Matt Damon movie reminds us.

Relief organizations are apparently having a hard time reaching the affected area. Stay tuned for opportunities to give to the relief effort as I identify them.

Perhaps because of the geographic difficulties, a Google search yielded relatively few results. The American Red Cross, Mercy Corps, Avaaz – none have anything up yet. (I’m writing this around midnight Eastern on Tuesday, though will set it to post in the morning.) This is what Twitter may (may) be good for, as a resource for breaking news when larger news and relief orgs haven’t been able to report out yet. Bizarrely, the most relevant link on an “indonesia” search came from…Tom Cruise. Go figure. Here it is, looks like the local Red Cross in Indonesia. There’s a way to donate in dollars, but it doesn’t look like online.

Remember the principles of smart disaster giving we learned from Haiti and Pakistan:

  • Give cash, not goods.
  • Support organizations that have existing relationships on the ground, it makes the process more efficient and means that more relief gets their sooner.
  • Give to the long-term recovery effort, not just immediate relief.
  • Be OK with the fact that because of what it costs to have an effective on-the-ground response, your dollar now may get into the field weeks or even months later, or on another disaster. Relief orgs need revolving sources of funding, and it’s not like you’re going to say, “no, don’t help those other people in the next disaster.” It’s like providing general operating support, give the organization that’s proven its ability to get help to those who need it the latitude to use the funds in the most effective way.

The I in CIVETS (part 3)

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

indonesia_map_2007-worldfactbook.jpg

Continuing a series on Indonesia, the I in CIVETS, a group of countries tagged by a financial analyst as emerging economic powers. I’m wondering what kind of philanthropy there is in such countries, as a way of getting at the first of my two questions, “what is the role of philanthropy in a democratic society?”

Basic facts for context (continued): population, size of the economy, principal industries, political system, ethnic and religious makeup. Where would the country fall on the liberal market economy-coordinated market economy spectrum?

Back again with the CIA World Factbook, an incredibly handy online reference source.

There were 30 million Internet users in Indonesia in 2008, the 11th most in the world. While that’s only about 12% of the population, it’s still a significant number. The literacy rate was 90% in 2004, though that’s unequal by gender (94% male, 87% female).

Eighty-six percent of the population is Muslim. The primary ethnic groups are Javanese (40%) and Sundanese (15%), with a variety of other groups under 4%.

What about varieties of capitalism – where would the country fall on the LME-CME spectrum? This is the glaring blind spot in Hall and Soskice’s work on varieties of capitalism: it’s about the developed economies. According to a recent survey article, “Asia’s economies are at various stages of emergence and transition and do not easily fit into the LME-CME dichotomy.”

This was the feeling I got when I first studied varieties of capitalism in grad school; that it didn’t quite capture the reality of Latin America, the region I was studying. The legacy of colonialism was high levels of inequality, particularly around the distribution of land, and the process of developing in a world where there are already developed countries is fundamentally different. (The latter is one of the ideas that’s most stuck with me from grad school: timing really matters for development.)

Here’s an interesting quote from the same article about how well varieties of capitalism apply in Asia: “Peng et al. (2008) suggest that the key research question for an institutional theory of firm strategy in emerging and transitional scenarios is “how (do firms) play the game when the rules of the game are changing and not completely known” (2008: 5). This sounds very much like Latin America. Is the difference about how firms (or, extending the analogy I explored in prior posts, nonprofits) navigate a weakly institutionalized context, when the rules of the game are in flux? I’ll want to explore what this looks like in Indonesia, and the other CIVETS.

The I in CIVETS (part 2)

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Continuing a series on Indonesia, the I in CIVETS, a group of countries tagged by a financial analyst as emerging economic powers. I’m wondering what kind of philanthropy there is in such countries, as a way of getting at the first of my two questions, “what is the role of philanthropy in a democratic society?”

Basic facts for context (continued): population, size of the economy, principal industries, political system, ethnic and religious makeup. Where would the country fall on the liberal market economy-coordinated market economy spectrum?

Back again with the CIA World Factbook, an incredibly handy online reference source.

Indonesia’s economy is big (16th in the world in GDP at $969 billion), but not very well distributed (155th in the world in GDP per capita at $4,000, 66th in the world in Gini index of distribution of family income at 39.4).

The economy is 47.6% industry, 37.1% services, and 15.3% agriculture, though 42.1% of the labor force is in agriculture – which means a lot of people work in a part of the economy that proportionally doesn’t generate much GDP. This may have an effect on how well their interests are represented in the political system.

The unemployment rate in 2009 was 7.7%, 78th in the world at that time (the US was 110th).

The main industries include oil and natural gas, textiles and apparel, mining, rubber, and tourism. Indonesia has one of the three richest rainforest areas in the world, along with the Amazon and Central Africa. As a result, there’s a lot of struggle around sustainable forestry. Palm oil is one of the main products that can be generated from the Indonesian rainforest, and the government, environmental groups, and farmers are involved in complicated interactions around how to harvest it sustainably, balancing livelihood and conservation. (Check out The Burning Season for an illuminating look.)

Indonesia’s biggest trade partners for exports are Japan (17%), Singapore (11%), and the US (11%). Its biggest partners for imports are Singapore (25%), China (13%), and Japan (9%). Very imbedded in the East Asian economy, surprisingly not so dependent on China, and not all that engaged with the U.S. or other parts of the West. That suggests it’s probably focused on regional issues. It’ll be interesting to see when I get to the V in CIVETS, Vietnam, how those two interact, if at all.

The I in CIVETS (part 1)

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Starting up a series on Indonesia, the I in CIVETS, a group of countries tagged by a financial analyst as emerging economic powers. I’m wondering what kind of philanthropy there is in such countries, as a way of getting at the first of my two questions, “what is the role of philanthropy in a democratic society?”

Basic facts for context: population, size of the economy, principal industries, political system, ethnic and religious makeup. Where would the country fall on the liberal market economy-coordinated market economy spectrum?

Let’s consult the CIA Factbook, a very handy online reference source.

Indonesia is the fourth most-populous country in the world with 243 million people (compared to 310 million in the U.S.) and has the largest Muslim population of any country. It’s a huge archipelago of islands that stretch across an area in the South Pacific comparable in size to the United States.

This past Tuesday was the 65th anniversary of Indonesia declaring independence from the Netherlands, of which it was a colony since the 17th century. For decades it was ruled by a dictatorship, transitioning to democracy in 1999.

Its legal system is “based on Roman-Dutch law, substantially modified by indigenous concepts and by new criminal procedures and election codes.” What does that mean?? Wonder how it impacts the possibility of a tax deduction for giving.

There’s a president who’s elected to a five-year term by direct vote (no Electoral College to worry about…); the current officeholder, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, was elected to a second term in 2009 with 60% of the vote.

There are three houses of the legislature: one that’s responsible for national legislation, another that includes representation for each of the regions and is meant to consult with the other house on matters affecting the regions (what would THAT be like in the US?), and a third made up of members of the other two that deals with constitutional issues.

To be continued…